Film & TV

Film Review: ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’: Subliminal Satanic Worship or Bad CGI?

BY Mark Jackson TIMEMay 24, 2022 PRINT

PG-13 | 2h 6m | Action, Fantasy | May 6, 2022

Out with the time-loop movies—in with the multiverse movies. The movie term “multiverse” is based on the theory that a network of interconnected dimensions exist in the cosmos, where numerous versions of yourself live alternative lives. As in, when you’re born in this dimension, in a myriad of other dimensions and time-spaces, other you’s simultaneously come into existence.

And you’re all connected, like the rods connecting the various particles in the well-known model of the atomic structure. It all makes up a complete you. This used to be secret knowledge available only to seers and sages and advanced kung fu masters. Now you can pay 17 bucks and get a cartoon version of it at your local movie theater.

We’ve now got a Spiderverse, as in the latest episode where three Spider-Men from different time-spaces ended up in the same dimension (thanks to Dr. Strange, by the way). Also, currently, in the indie hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” there’s multiverse action happening. And this latest addition just lazily puts it right in the title: “Multiverse of Madness.”

Speaking of madness, Mr. Horror himself, Sam Raimi, director of “The Unholy,” “Drag Me to Hell,” “Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead 2,” “The Grudge,” “The Grudge 2,” and other such uplifting fare, helms. Clearly, the studio wanted to scare the audience a little more than the usual Marvel movie. To keep them awake, I’m guessing. Big fail on Marvel’s part because I’ve never been as excruciatingly bored; I set a personal record for yawning in this “Dr. Strange.”

man making magic in doctor strange in the multiverse of madness
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) making some highly suspect, pentagram-looking magical portal-opening thingies in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios)

And it wasn’t just me. Instead of the usual press screening, I saw it in a regular theater. You know the new, luxury seating that lets you essentially create a comfy bed for you to munch your popcorn in? Well in my row, about five seats down, were two grown men, side by side, in their respective movie beds, curled up, fast asleep. And this is a real shame, because the subject matter is cutting edge. It talks about how our dreams are actual situations that our other selves are experiencing in other dimensions, piped in through our connecting rods.

Doctor Strange Dreams a Dream That’s Not a Dream

man in red cape in doctor strange in the multiverse of madness
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios)

Dr. Stephen Strange is one of your more obscure characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Like other superheroes, he’s got supernormal abilities. Supernormal abilities are things that are actually latent in the human body like dormant seeds. Six supernormal abilities have now actually been proven by science.

However, Dr. Strange is the only one I can think of who actually came by his abilities in the tried-and-true manner, as in, he didn’t get bitten by some radioactive bug. He was a monastic up the Himalaya, where he developed the ability to enter other time-spaces and dimensions. It’s highly questionable whether the good doctor attained the high, high, high moral stature that provides the energy to unlock such abilities. And without that, he is, by definition a sorcerer, which means his energy comes from amassed dark forces (karma). But in the movie, he’s quite benign. In my understanding it doesn’t work that way, but okay.

man with third eye in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
One of Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) selves has clearly developed his third eye, in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios). 

When the film opens, Strange is waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night by a recurring nightmare in which he’s trying to save a young girl (Xochitl Gomez) from destruction. But it’s not a dream. Another of his selves is actually doing that in another time-space. And we will now take a long, strange trip with Dr. Strange and witness what goes on elsewhere in the multiverse.

More Dreams

The second movie lead, Wanda Maximoff, aka “The Scarlet Witch” (Elizabeth Olsen), who we know a little bit from other MCU movies (and the Disney+ TV series, “WandaVision”) and who specializes in “chaos magic” is quite powerful. She’s also a bit demented from grief. She’s got recurring dreams, too, about her kids dying, and the conviction that these young sons, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Kline) are alive in another universe. Hell that hath no fury like the primal mothering instinct looking for lost boys in the multiverse; she’s perfectly happy to turn Dr. Strange into a zombie in order to locate her kids.

woman in red in doctor strange in the multiverse of madness
Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios)

Other players in the multiverse are Strange’s fellow sorcerers Wong (Benedict Wong) and Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). And Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). How’d he get in here? It’s akin to the accumulation of all the inter-dimensional Spider-Men in one time-space, but different: When Disney acquired Fox studios, Marvel got access to the X-Men, and so Professor Charles Xavier can now do inter-dimensional franchise hopping.

octopus in doctor strange in the multiverse of madness
Terrible CGI in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios)

I could give you a more detailed synopsis, but it would do you little good. This is hands down, the most bombastic, bloated, 98-percent (bad) CGI-generated, tumultuous, explosion-rich, monster-prolific, roiling, reeling, revolving, extensive-masonry-crumbling, eyeball-confusing, carnival-like hodge-podge of imagery ever presented cinematically. And here’s the kicker: It’s so devoid of tension and boring, it produces a mild state of nausea.

Also, there are more than a few clues that there’s some satanic tomfoolery at play here. The movie poster has Dr. Strange making the horns hand sign; pentagram-ish things abound in his magic; and the all-seeing, cyclopean eye of that giant CGI octopus is highly suspect, to name a few.

Interesting note: The image of one of our very own Epoch Times’s yellow newspaper boxes (Chinese edition) makes a brief appearance in the film. It’s in the trailer; can’t remember where it is in the movie. For this reason, the Chinese Communist Party has banned “Dr. Strange” in China. Why? Because the Epoch Times exists primarily to blow the whistle on the CCP’s human rights atrocities. And we’re succeeding. Because the communists sent their goons to deface and destroy some of the Epoch Times’s newspaper boxes shortly after the trailer debuted. (They do this a lot.) When the CCP tries repeatedly to destroy you, you know you’re doing your job of exposing evil in the multiverse.

doctor strange in the multiverse of madness
Movie poster of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios)

‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Patrick Stewart, Rachel McAdams, Charlize Theron, Xochitl Gomez
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 6, 2022
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars 

Mark Jackson
Film Critic
Mark Jackson is the senior film critic for The Epoch Times. Mark has 20 years’ experience as a New York professional actor, working in theater, commercials, and soap operas. He has a classical theater training and a BA in philosophy from Williams College. As a voice actor, he recently narrated the Epoch Times audiobook, “How the Specter of Communism is Ruling Our World.” Mark's professors suggested he become a professional writer. He became a professional actor instead. Now he writes professionally about acting. In the movies.
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